President Bush didn’t mention Haiti in his State-of-the-Union address. That’s not surprising. Unless you read the New York Times daily you may not even know that they just had an election there. Haiti gets no respect. Poor Haiti. Poor as in the worst economy in the entire hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Poor Haiti, a pawn of the United States, a country which overthrew slavery almost 200 years ago, but still has never really been free.

Briefly, here is a history of how Haiti ended up in such misery. The United States government interfered in Haitian politics, as we have in most countries in our hemisphere, and installed a brutal dictator, Papa Duvalier. Brutal hardly does justice to this dictator, whose enforcers were infamously known as the Tonton Macoute. Just about anything was allowed to be done to those who opposed Duvalier, especially violent murder.

Haiti has always been ruled by an elite group of rich, usually white men, in concert with the military. A series of military dictatorships, strongly supported by Republicans such as Senator Jesse Helms, was finally driven out of office in 1990, and a free election was held for the first time in Haiti’s history. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a mild-mannered priest, was overhwelmingly elected by the masses of downtrodden citizens. Unfortunately this was when the Republicans were in power under the first George Bush, and our government did everything to make sure Aristide didn’t have the financial help he desperately needed. Instead, the Helms group helped lead another military coup, and Aristide was forced to seek asylum in the United States.

While living in New York City, Aristide cultivated friendships among liberal groups in the United States, in particular black leaders. When Clinton became President, he successfully re-installed the elected President Aristide, and things started looking up for Haiti. That was until the Republicans again took back the Congress and cut-off funding to Haiti once more.

This policy continued until George Bush the second was President and he was able to force Aristide out of office in 1994. Since that time Haiti has been under the controll of the United Nations, and it has deteriorated into anarchy. The Brazilian general who led the UN forces committed suicide in despair over the situation he was in.

Now once again, the people have voted and they have elected an ally of Aristide to be President, Rene Preval. Once again, the voters of a country have not voted the way George Bush wanted them to. Once again, he has egg on his face.

We can only hope that this time Haiti is given the assistance it desperately needs. Otherwise the anarchy and murders will continue. The people of Haiti deserve much better. Hell, anybody deserves to be treated better than the Haitians have been.

Learn more about Haiti:

Jean-Bertrand Aristide – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haiti – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia